Srs. Jane Ann Scanlon, Joan Brennan, Regina DeVitto, Mary Nerney, Carmel Caputo, Mary Ann Rossi and Deanna Sabetta assist in the celebration of a Golden Jubilee Mass in CT. The celebrant is Fr. Dave Reilly Photo, CND, 2009
We come from countries in North America, Central America, Asia, Africa and Europe where we live and work among the people. In response to a call from our loving God, we give our lives to work toward achieving God’s desire for a just and peaceful world for all peoples.
Associate Sharon Norton begins our Lenten meditations. In current idiom, she points out that God’s paths for God’s people are often unexpected, challenging and invite us to courageous and loving response.
Come July 5, I will be a grandmama. My daughter-in-law Rachel is pregnant with her first child, our first grandchild. Did I mention that Rachel is Jewish? Did I mention that our son Jim converted to Judaism? Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Or rather, in this case, Miriam, Rachel and Jim!
So in the midst of our family’s biblical identity crisis, I reflect on the readings for the first Sunday in Lent.
I have always imagined the Bible as a kind of mystical road map that tracks the human search for identity from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane. Along the way, the Old Testament tells us how too often our Jewish forefathers and mothers were forced to remake themselves in foreign lands, only to have terrorists drive them out once again. The Jewish people repeatedly called on God for proof of their Chosen identity; and each time He gave them the strength to relocate and recreate themselves. What he did not give them were permanent visas to the Promised Land.
A Syrian couple arrived late Thursday evening in Canada; they will be staying with Sister Susan Kidd for the next few weeks. Sister Susan says “They are well, tired and we are all learning much. Non-verbal communication can be effective! Friday, they went to Sears, Marks Work Warehouse and a convenience store owned by a Syrian family and got groceries. Saturday was more around the house. Ibtisam cooked for us and in the evening went to the mosque for a social event for women. Their suitcase arrived yesterday so today is for laundry and possibly phoning friends in Lebanon. Tomorrow, they will go to the bank and Tuesday to Newcomers. My Arabic speaking neighbours have also been over a few times. We celebrated Fawaz's birthday with balloons, Syrian music, a roasted chicken with PEI mashed potatoes, chocolate cake with candles and a UPEI student from Jordan as translator. Fawaz and Ibtisam are two of the most courageous people I know and still … they smile. When we ask if they would like anything or need anything, they want us to be happy! We laugh and say that is what we want for them. Lots of "Thank God," in the house these days. We are blessed! Please continue to carry them and all refugees in prayer”
Sisters and associates, please take note of two major movements towards change in our U.S. criminal justice systems. They are also two of our Province Corporate Stands. First, there is an increasing call for the end of the death penalty across our nation. I invite you to find a way to participate in this movement. I am emailing you a Continuum of Actions for your consideration. It is not exhaustive but it is a beginning. Choose something(s) you can do to hasten the end of the death penalty. If you create your own action, let me know what it is and I’ll offer it as an addition to the Continuum. This is a very promising time to abolish the Death Penalty; let’s not waste it.
Sister Mary Corbett and I are actively involved in a refugee sponsorship group in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Our group is called CAiRN (Communities Assisting Refugees Now). Last Friday night we attended Hijab Day at the public library in New Glasgow. The event was interactive with opportunities for people to learn to write their name in Arabic; to hear Ima and Ilhem speak about the cultural and religious meanings of wearing the hijab, along with an opportunity to try it on; to have phrases of welcome translated onto cards to use when our newcomers arrive; and also access to information related to the two local groups sponsoring refugees, Safe Harbour and CAiRN. Over 50 people showed up and got involved in the activities. The spirit of welcome and excitement surrounding the event was contagious. We are planning to have a similar event in the town of Pictou soon.